Myth #2: Relationships are what you do

How many times have you heard someone say, “We’re working on our relationship”? Have you said something like that yourself?

Many people think work is required when they notice an emotion in their relationship that they don’t like, as Carol did when she woke up feeling lonely.

Lots of people believe that if the relationship isn’t working the way they want, they have to change their actions. This strategy arises from the thought that a relationship is the actions taken to make our partner happy.

But if a relationship is what you do, then the relationship doesn’t exist when you aren’t doing anything about it. Or the relationship is bad if the other person’s actions don’t make you happy.

When Carol felt lonely, her first suggestion to Paul was, “Let’s get to work on what we’re committed to – let’s write the next RelationshipByDesign newsletter.” That was a good suggestion, not because writing about relationships is our relationship, but because we know we enjoy thinking and writing and speaking about relationships together, and we experience being related ourselves.

We weren’t looking to do something that would restore our relationship – that exists whether we are doing something about it or not. We were looking for a way to experience being related.

Paul proposed an even better idea, one that had us focus exclusively on each other and pleasure for a time, and called for other skills than intellectual ones. We enjoyed a delicious sensual experiment together, being related and connected.

When you look back over the story of an important relationship, what are the times and circumstances when you keenly experienced being related? Those experiences are clues to pathways you could follow to experience connection when you feel separate or lonely.

Being related doesn’t require you to manipulate your feelings or work on your relationship. Everything that happens can be an occasion to experience your relationship exactly as it is. Nothing is wrong; emotions come and go – some you like and some you don’t.

But would we have had such a delicious Saturday if Carol had hidden her loneliness and soldiered on with the business of life? Carol’s sharing of her loneliness opened a doorway to an even deeper delight in our being related. Sharing her feelings brought us together, and the actions that followed were an expression of being related, not an effort to fix anything.

We would love to dive deeper with you into this profound human experience called relationship. Join us when you can! We will have a great time being related to you!

All our best,

Carol and Paul

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